On Monday, we held a discussion meeting on ethical shopping and where we draw the line when it comes to choosing what we buy.

The consensus was that it’s very hard to find fair trade/organic lines for a lot of the clothes people need for everyday wear. You can go on ethical consumer to check out a lot of the retailers and some producers, but still there’s very little information for most people to make an informed choice about how the products they buy are made.

Most people would not buy things if they knew that children suffered as a result, but ignorance removes their ability to make that choice and people like to think that reasonable behaviour is adopted by most businesses (even when it is not the case).

Emma, who was leading the meeting, has posted round this list of websites where you can buy new clothes online from ethical producers:

Annie Greenabelle www.anniegreenabelle.com
Johari www.johari.co.uk
Bibico www.bibico.co.uk
Ethics Girls www.ethicsgirls.co.uk
Chinti and Parker http://www.chintiandparker.com/index.html
Nancy Dee www.nancydee.co.uk
Men & Women  
Rapanui www.rapanuiclothing.com
Environmental Justice Foundation http://www.ejfoundation.org.uk/shopforejf/
Komodo http://www.komodo.co.uk/
Wear Chemistry www.wearchemistry.com
Frank & Faith www.frankandfaith.com
Pants to Poverty www.pantstopoverty.com
Regenerate www.regenerateclothing.com
people tree www.peopletree.co.uk
Howies www.howies.co.uk
Braintree http://www.braintreehemp.co.uk/index.php?cPath=28
Monkee Jeans http://www.monkeegenes.com/
Hot Pot Eco Clothing www.hotpotecoclothing.com
Shoes & Accessories  
Bourgeois Boheme www.bboheme.com
Ethletic www.thefaircorp.com
Katcha Bilek www.re-collect.net
beyond skin www.beyondskin.co.uk
Simple Shoes http://www1.simpleshoes.com/gb/index.aspx

Of course, we also have to think about second hand instead of new as being a good solution environmentally and also supporting local businesses which may not be branded fair trade, but don’t exploit workers and have traceable supply chains.

There is a lot of greenwash about, but we need to make sure the bad practices are stopped in the longer term to protect people and the environment – voting with your wallet is a good way to start.

Joe Peacock

Read more: http://birminghamfoe.blogspot.com/2012/02/ethical-shopping-hard-on-high-street.html